COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. PANTHERS
Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena (1,039) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Saturday, February 18, 2006 ~ Noon
CHANTICLEERS WRAP UP REGULAR SEASON HOME SCHEDULE: Coastal Carolina will wrap the home portion of the regular season with back-to-back games, starting today against Birmingham-Southern. CCU will then finish up the home regular-season schedule against VMI, Mon., Feb. 20 at 7 p.m., with Senior Night ceremonies prior to the game.
ON THE TUBE: CCU will be on the television for the second time this year, this time on Fox Sports Net South as part of the Big South Television package. Matt Hogue will call the play-by-play, while Cliff Ellis will handle the color commentary. Coastal was televised at home earlier this season, defeating defending Big South champion Winthrop 64-50 on Feb. 4.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '86) is in his first season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 180-118 overall coaching record in nine-plus seasons. Last season, Coastal posted a 10-19 mark, including 7-9 in Big South Conference play.
Duane Reboul (New Orleans, 72) is in his 17th season at Birmingham-Southern with a 401-121 record at BSC and overall. Last season, Birmingham-Southern was 16-14 overall and 7-9 in the Big South, tying for fourth. The Panthers return two starters and four letterwinners from last year's squad.
SERIES HISTORY: This is the ninth meeting in the brief series between the two schools, with Coastal holding a slim 5-4 margin. Coastal has split the four games at Kimbel Arena with BSC, but the Panthers have won the last two meetings, getting a 76-68 overtime victory during the 2003-04 season and then a 68-55 win in last season's regular-season finale. (Recaps and box scores of last year's and this year's meetings are available on page 8 and 9.)
PETERSON AGAINST THE PANTHERS: This is the second time that head coach Buzz Peterson has faced Birmingham-Southern in his coaching career.
THE FIRST YEAR IS A GOOD START: For head coach Buzz Peterson, he has already accomplished much in Coastal annals. Among first year CCU coaches, he has already led this team to more victories (14) and Big South wins (8) than any previous first year Coastal coach.
THEY SAY TALKING ABOUT STREAKS ISN'T GOOD: But for the Chanticleers, the current streak has been a good one. CCU has put together a six-game winning streak, the longest since the school-record 11-game streak during the 1992-93 season.
Additionally, the Chanticleers have secured at least a .500 overall and Big South record for this season, the first time CCU will have at least a .500 record since the 1993-94 team went 15-11.
KIMBEL HAS ITS ADVANTAGES: Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena may seat just over 1,000 fans, but it had been large for the Chanticleers the previous two seasons. Coastal was 9-1 in non-conference play during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, with the only loss a 73-72 heartbreaker to the College of Charleston early in the 2003-04 season. Coastal was a combined 17-9 at home over the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, and finished 8-5 in 2004-05. CCU did open the 2005-06 home schedule with a resounding 70-35 victory over Coker. The Chanticleers are 11-1 this season at home and 34-15 overall. The Chants' 11 home victories are the most since the 1992-93 team went 11-2 in Kimbel Arena.
THE LAST NINE MAKES OPPONENTS SEE STARS: Over the last nine games, the Chanticleers have started to make the system of first-year head coach Buzz Peterson work for them. In the last nine, CCU has amassed an 8-1 record and been dominant defensively in those games. The Chanticleers average giving up just 63.3 points a game, with five of the nine at 62 or less and all nine of 72 or less. Coastal has knocked down 47.1 percent (235-for-499) while holding opponents to just 43.5 percent (201-for-462). The real key has been the possessions, as Coastal has outrebounded its opponents by 3.9 rebounds a game and forced an average of 2.7 more turnovers a game. Other areas have stepped up also, as Coastal has 27 blocks in the seven games and the current five starters are all averaging at least 7.6 per game, with two (forwards Joseph Harris and Moses Sonko) averaging over 6.8 rebounds a contest.
A LESSON IN HOW TO WIN GAMES LATE: Coastal Carolina has been a great example of that over the last six games, as CCU has strung together a six-game winning streak. The last five minutes can be key in any game and Coastal has made that its own during the streak. Coastal has hit 74.3 percent (26-for-35) of its shots from the field in the last five minutes of this streak, including 58.3 percent (7-for-12) from the three-point arc. The Chants have limited opponents to just 35.7 percent (15-for-42) from the floor during the same time and outrebounded the opponents 28-14 down the stretch. Additionally, CCU has forced four more turnovers and hit 90.5 percent (19-for-21) of its free throw attempts in the closing minutes of these six contests.
SOME KEY ITEMS FOR COASTALS VICTORIES: Several trends developed in regards to Coastal winning in the 2005-06 season. Coastal is 11-4 when leading at the break, 12-1 when ahead with five minutes to play and 11-2 when scoring at least 70 points. Defense is always a key, as Coastal is 10-1 when holding opponents to less than 70 points, as well as 10-3 when forcing at least 15 turnovers. The Chants are also 12-2 when giving up less than 15 turnovers and 10-2 when shooting at least 45 percent from the floor. Another interesting note is that when guard Jack Leasure leads Coastal is scoring, the Chants are 9-2.
FROM DOWNTOWN...BANG!: Sophomore Jack Leasure continues to believe -- and prove -- that outside the three-point arc is his domain. Through 23 games this season, the guard has hit 99 three-pointers, an average of 4.3 per game, and surpassing KeKe Hicks (1992-93) sophomore record of 83. His 99 triples currently rank fourth in a single season at CCU, but Dave Mooney is just ahead of him with 102 (1987-88) and 100 (1986-87). KeKe Hicks is CCU's single season leader with 115 during the 1993-94 season, while Doug Day of Radford holds the league record with 117.
The success from the arc shows in the NCAA Division I national rankings. As of Feb. 13, he leads the nation in three pointers per game and 31st in three-point field goal percentage at 42.5 percent.
As a team, Coastal is also among the nation's leaders in triples. The Chanticleers are averaging 8.2 threes per game, which as of Feb. 6 ranks them 29th in Division I.
THE STARTING LINEUP HAS FIRMED UP: Coastal Carolina, under first year head coach Buzz Peterson, has tweaked the lineup throughout the first 15 contests of the year. In the first 15 games, the Chanticleers had nine different starting lineups. Three players (Pele Paelay, Jack Leasure and Moses Sonko) have started all 23 games. Guard Mario Sisinni joined the starting lineup in 12 of those contests.
However, CCU has used the same starting lineup in the last six games, with Paelay, Leasure, Sonko, guard Colin Stevens and forward Joseph Harris out for the opening tip for the Chanticleers, posting a perfect 6-0 mark.
THE EQUATION IS SIMPLE FOR COASTAL: The Chanticleers have a simple way to get a home game for the first round of the upcoming Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Tournament - win. If Coastal gets one win in its last four games, or High Point loses one game, the Chants will host a first-round game at Kimbel Arena, Tue., Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.
HARRIS MAKING A DIFFERENCE : Freshman forward Joseph Harris has grown throughout the season and it showed in the last two games. In the recent win over High Point, Feb. 6. Harris posted career-highs of 14 points and 16 rebounds for his first career double-double in leading the Chanticleers to the victory. The 16 rebounds tie the 10th-best single-game performance in school history and amazingly, of those 16 rebounds, 12 of them came in the first half. He then followed it up with his second consecutive double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds in the win at Charleston Southern, Feb. 9. He currently ranks 15th in the league in rebounding at 5.3 per contest, including 2.17 offensive boards per game (seventh in the league).
CLOSE CALLS IN THE BIG SOUTH A REGULAR FOR CCU: Games in the Big South are always a battle, and the last three years' numbers prove it for Coastal Carolina. In 2003-04, 11 of CCU's 16 Big South contests were decided by nine points or less, with Coastal holding a 4-7 mark in those games. Last year, CCU was 4-4 in its Big South games decided by nine or less.
Heading into today's game, four of the last eight games for the Chanticleers have each been decided by seven points or less, with CCU holding a 3-1 mark in those. The first two were by a single point, with Coastal defeating Charleston Southern, 63-62, Jan. 19, and then dropping the 70-69 overtime loss to Radford, Jan. 21. Coastal won at Winthrop, 64-57, Jan. 24, for its first road win of the year. The most recent was the thrilling 71-69 win at Charleston Southern, Feb. 9.
AT YOUR LEASURE: Sophomore Jack Leasure was impressive on the offensive end of the floor in his freshman season. He averaged 14.5 points (seventh in the Big South) and hit 42.5 percent (85-of-200) from the three-point arc, second best in the Big South Conference. He also led the league and ranked 29th nationally in three-pointers per game with 2.93. Leasure improved his averages to 15.8 points (third in the Big South) and 2.8 rebounds per game in league play.
This season, Leasure leads the Chants in scoring, averaging a team-high 17.8 points a game (fifth in the Big South) and adding 3.3 rebounds. He has hit a league-best 99 three-pointers (4.3 per game), including a career-best nine in a win over Chowan, Dec. 19. He currently ranks third on CCU's all-time three-pointers chart with 184 in just 52 games. His nine three pointers tied for the second-best performance in school history, while his seven three-pointers against Coker, Nov. 30, and St. Andrews, Jan. 3, tied for the fifth best single games in Coastal history. He also ranks second the Big South with 4.5 assists per game and has added 39 steals (fifth in the Big South) so far this year.
After averaging 22.5 points a game during the week of Dec. 12-18, including a career-best 33 in the win over MEAC-preseason favorite South Carolina State, Leasure was named Big South Player of the Week for the first time in his career Dec. 19.
STEPPING UP THE DEFENSE: In their 14 victories, the Chanticleers have made the difference on the defensive end of the floor. In the 14 wins, Coastal has given up just 61.6 points per game and just 42.8 percent (299-for-699) shooting from the floor. Additionally, the Chants have forced 4.9 more turnovers a game in the wins, including 9.6 steals per game. Coastal has also outrebounded its opponents by 4.2 caroms a game in the 14 victories.
This doesn't mean Coastal hasn't been solid offensively as well in the wins. The Chants are averaging 77.2 points in the wins. They also have hit on 48.5 percent (393-for-810) of their shots from the floor, including 39.4 percent (127-for-322) from the three-point arc.
Individually, guard Jack Leasure has been the leader for the Chants in the 14 wins, averaging 20.4 points per game in the victories. Additionally, Leasure has hit 48.2 percent (96-for-199) of his shots from the floor, including 71 three pointers and 45.5 percent (71-for-156) shooting from beyond the arc. He also has 3.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game in the 14 victories.
PAELAY REACHING THE ELITE MILESTONE: Senior guard Pele Paelay has proven his ability to score in his career and accomplished a milestone in the home win over Winthrop, Feb. 4. Early in the first half, Paelay knocked down his second three-pointer of the game and became the 13th member of Coastal's 1,000-Point Club. He currently ranks 12th with 1,061 points.
PAELAY GETS IT DONE: Senior Pele Paelay made things happen offensively for Coastal in the 2004-05 season. Paelay knocked down a career-high 27 points and made it his first career double-double with 11 rebounds at Evansville, Nov. 23. He later followed up that performance with 22 points and 11 rebounds at UNC Greensboro, Nov. 23. Paelay had a career-high 38 points and eight rebounds in the win at VMI, Jan. 10. The 38 points are the sixth most in school history and best in the league this year, while his 14 field goals tied for third in CCU annals. For the season, Paelay averaged a league-bests of 16.8 points and 2.4 steals per game and added 6.0 rebounds. He also led CCU in scoring 15 times and 12 times in rebounding, while tallying double-digit scoring in 27 of 29 contests. He was the only player in the Big South Conference to rank in the top 10 in scoring (1st), rebounding (6th) and steals (1st) and was 11th in assists.
This season, Paelay is averaging 14.3 points (seventh in the Big South) and 4.7 rebounds in 23 contests. He also has 1,061 points in his career, just the 13th player in Coastal history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
He had his best game of the season so far at VMI, Jan. 7, scoring 24 points and adding seven rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Prior to that, his top game had been at Minnesota, where he tallied a game-high 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 4-for-7 from the three-point arc. He added two rebounds, five assists and one steal in the effort. He tied that mark with 23 points in the home win over Jacksonville, Dec. 11.
STEVENS STEPPING UP IN RECENT GAMES: Senior guard Colin Stevens has made his mark for the Chanticleers in recent days. In the first 13 games, Stevens was averaging 2.2 points in 10.2 minutes per game and had more turnovers (17) than assists (15). In the last 10 games, including six straight starts, Stevens has averaged 8.6 points per game in 26.2 minutes, including a stellar 90.6 percent (29-for-32) from the charity stripe. He has dished out 44 assists to just 14 turnovers (assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.14). In these 10 games, he has had his top four offensive outputs of the year, scoring a season-high 18 points at Birmingham-Southern, Jan. 14, and then 12 points, including a pair of free throws with 4.4 seconds left, in the win over Charleston Southern, Jan. 19. He then added 13 points, five rebounds and six assists to lead CCU to its first road win of the year at Winthrop, Jan. 24. Recently, Stevens handed out a career-high 10 assists in the home win over Winthrop, Feb. 4. With Stevens part of the lineup the last 10 games, Coastal has posted a 8-2 mark, all in league play.
DOUBLING THE DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR SONKO: Junior forward Moses Sonko saw double in recent back-to-back games for the Chanticleers. Sonko recorded his first career double-double, Jan. 24 at Winthrop, posting 10 points and a career-best 11 rebounds in the road win over the defending Big South champions. In fact, that was the first double-double for Coastal this year and the first since Adrian Gross had one against Charleston Southern, Feb. 3, 2005, with 17 points and 10 boards. He then followed it up with 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Chanticleers to a home win over Liberty, Jan. 28.
SONKO CONTINUING THE SOLID PLAY: Junior forward Moses Sonko has made strides from his sophomore year and been solid for Coastal in 2005-06. Last year, Sonko averaged 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game, starting in 13 of the 27 games he played in. This season, his numbers are up, as he has started all 23 contests and is averaging 11.2 points (18th in the Big South), 5.3 rebounds (17th in the league) and 25.9 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures in 14 games, including his first career double-double in the win at Winthrop, Jan. 24, with 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, and second double-double against Liberty, Jan. 28, with 16 points and 11 boards. He earned his first career Big South Player of the Week award, Jan. 30, after posting those back-to-back double-doubles.
THE WINDING ROAD HAS BEEN KIND LATELY: After posting a 4-4 record on the road in the Big South in 2003-04, CCU was 2-6 on the road in the Big South last season, with wins at VMI (Jan. 10) and Birmingham-Southern (Jan. 24) and 2-14 in road games overall.
CCU dropped its first eight road games before getting the dramatic 64-57 win over defending Big South champion Winthrop, Jan. 24. However, the Chanticleers have followed it up with a dramatic 71-69 win at Charleston Southern, Feb. 9, for their first back-to-back road wins since midway through the 2003-04 season. Then Coastal added to it with an 88-70 road victory at UNC Asheville, Feb. 13, for its third consecutive road win. In fact, the last time the Chants won three consecutive road games was during the 1992-93 season, when CCU defeated Campbell and Charleston Southern twice to end the regular season and CSU again in the first round of the Big South Tournament at North Charleston Coliseum.
With the win at Winthrop, CCU snapped a 13-game road losing streak overall, including an eight-game Big South road streak dating back midway through the Big South schedule last year.
GETTING THE THIRD STRAIGHT ON THE ROAD AT UNC ASHEVILLE: First-year head coach Buzz Peterson's first-ever coached game in his hometown was a happy one, as the Coastal Carolina men's basketball team defeated host UNC Asheville, 88-70, Feb. 13. With their sixth consecutive win, including three road victories, the Chanticleers have now guaranteed at least a .500 overall and Big South records this season. This was also the first victory for CCU at the Justice Center in 11 years, while the six-game winning streak ties for the fourth longest in school history.
Both teams were off to a slow start, with the game knotted at seven just over five minutes into the contest. After four ties, Coastal took the lead for good on a layup by junior Adrian Gross that put the Chants up 18-16 with 11 minutes to go in the half. Senior guard Pele Paelay made it four, but a three-pointer by Chad Mohn cut it back to one at 20-19 with 10:34 to go. However, CCU pushed it out on back-to-back threes by sophomore guard Jack Leasure to make it a seven-point lead and CCU eventually led by 13 at 39-26 with 5;32 to go in the half. UNCA went on a 10-0 run over the next four minutes to cut it to three, but Coastal added to the lead, including a Paelay layup with two seconds left in the half, and headed into the halftime lockerroom with a 46-38 margin.
Coastal was (17-for-32) in the first half, while UNCA hit on 47.8 percent (11-for-23) from the floor. CCU hit 7-for-15 from the three-point arc, while UNCA was just 3-for-8. The Bulldogs have stayed in the game at the charity stripe, going 13-for-17 while the Chanticleers were just there six times, hitting five of them. Coastal held a slim battle on the boards 16-14 and had forced eight UNCA turnovers that had been converted into 10 points.
UNCA cut the margin to six at 50-44 with 15:34 to play in the game, but the Chanticleers built an insurmountable lead with a 17-2 run over the next seven minutes to lead 67-46 with 8:17 to go. The Bulldogs cut it down to 14 twice in the late going, but CCU was 6-for-6 from the free throw line along with two layups to seal the victory.
Coastal shot 55.2 percent (32-for-58) from the floor, including 11 three-pointers, while UNC Asheville hit on 51.1 percent (24-for-47) of their shots, with seven triples. CCU also hit 92.9 percent (13-for-14) from the free throw line, while UNCA was 78.9 percent (15-for-19). The Chants outrebounded the hosts 29-23 and converted 17 UNCA miscues into 20 points.
Leasure finished with a game-high 23 points, including seven three-pointers, while Paelay had 21 for the Chanticleers. Junior forward Moses Sonko added 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while freshman forward Joseph Harris had 12 points. Collington led UNCA with 21 points, while Mohn had 17.
WINNING A ROAD THRILLER AT CHARLESTON SOUTHERN: Junior forward Moses Sonko banked in a layup with 4.2 seconds remaining to propel the Coastal Carolina men's basketball to a thrilling 71-69 Big South Conference victory at Charleston Southern, Feb. 9. With its fifth consecutive victory and second straight road win, the Chanticleers have first five-game winning streak since the 1996-97 season.
The Buccaneers came out strong, scoring the first eight points of the game in less than two minutes. Coastal clawed back to within three at 19-16 with 11:17 to go in the half. However, CSU made another surge, going on a 10-0 run over the next four minutes to take the biggest lead of the game at 29-16 with 7:10 to go. The Chants chipped away at the lead to enter the halftime lockerroom down by four, 33-29.
The second half was a game of quick runs, with each team making numerous spurts in the first six minutes of the half. CSU led by eight at 45-37 with 13:43 remaining in the contest, but the Chants put together an 11-2 run, capped off by senior guard Colin Stevens three-pointer, to take their first lead of the game at 48-47 with 10:24 to play. From that point on, neither team had more than a three-point lead until the Bucs led by four twice late, including 65-61 with 3:44 to go. Sophomore guard Jack Leasure drained a three-pointer to cut it back to one. The Bucs' Donnell Covington pushed it back to three at 67-64 with 2:57 to go, but Leasure stepped up again, hitting another triple to tie the game at 67 with 2:37 to play. Sonko hit a layup to put CCU up two with under two minutes to go, but Covington had the answer again, knocking down two free throws with 1:20 to go. After Coastal missed a three-point attempt, the host Bucs missed a jumper with 15 seconds to play to set up the last-second drama. Sonko hit his second consecutive layup and after Covington's three-pointer came off the front rim, the Chants escaped with the win.
Coastal hit just 43.1 percent (25-for-58) from the field, including eight three-pointers, while CSU was an impressive 58.1 percent (25-for-43) from the floor with just six three pointers. Both teams hit 13 free throws, but CCU stayed in the game throughout by winning the boards 31-22, including 16 offensive rebounds.
All five staters were in double figures for the Chants, led by senior guard Pele Paelay with 16 points, while Leasure added 15, all on three-pointers. Freshman forward Joseph Harris posted his second consecutive double-double with a career-high 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Sonko finished with 12 points, while Stevens had 10. Charleston Southern was led by Covington with 19 points, while Moore had 18.
EQUALIZING THE SEASON SERIES WITH HIGH POINT: The Coastal Carolina men's basketball team posted its fourth straight win and sixth victory in its last seven games with a solid 78-60 victory over visiting High Point, Feb. 6. With its 11th victory in 12 home contests, CCU split the season series with High Point. The Chants also have the most home victories (11) since the 1992-93 team went 11-2 at home.
The early part of the game was back-and-forth, as the teams had six ties and seven lead changes in the first 13 minutes. Coastal could only manage a five-point lead in that time, while High Point's biggest lead was three. However with the game tied at 26 with 6:58 to go in the first half, sophomore guard Jack Leasure hit a three-pointer to put Coastal up for good, sparking a 11-2 CCU to end the half. The run included a running jumper by senior guard Pele Paelay with no time remaining to give Coastal a 37-28 lead at the break.
Coastal hit 16-for-35 in the opening period while High Point was just 12-for-32, including 1-for-10 from the three-point arc. CCU outrebounded HPU 21-18.
Freshman forward Joseph Harris led Coastal with eight points and 12 rebounds, while junior forward Moses Sonko and Leasure also had eight each, with Leasure also chipping in five assists. The Panthers were led by guard Akeem Scott with seven while Arizona Reid had six at the intermission.
The Chants got the first bucket of the second half on a layup by Sonko to push the lead to 11 at 39-28 less than a minute into the final half. CCU made it a 7-2 run to make the margin 14 with 16 minutes to play. The Panthers would cut it to nine two more times, the last at 47-38 with 12:07 to go in the contest. However, Coastal scored the next six points to surge ahead by 15 and never look back,leading by no fewer than 11 the remainder of the game. With 3:11 to go and CCU up 69-58, the Chants closed a game strong for the second consecutive outing, going on a 9-2 run to finish off the game.
Coastal finished the game hitting a stellar 54.1 percent (33-for-61) from the field, including 65.4 percent (17-for-26) in the second half. High Point was limited to just 34.4 percent (22-for-64) for the game. CCU held a 39-34 board advantage, but the difference was in the paint, where Coastal outscored the visitors 38-18, including 18-2 in the second half. CCU also cashed in for 17 fast break points to just eight for HPU.
Coastal was led by Leasure with game-highs of 23 points, including seven three-pointers, and eight assists. Leasure broke the sophomore season record for three-pointers, as he now has 87, surpassing KeKe Hicks' 83 during the 1992-93 season. Harris also had a career outing, posting career-bests of 14 points and 16 rebounds for his first career double-double. Harris' 16 rebounds tied for the 10th best single-game outing in school history. Sonko added 14 points, while Paelay added 12. High Point was led by Scott with 19, while Reid was the only other player in double figures for the Panthers with 17.
TONIGHT'S INJURY REPORT: Forward Logan Johnson (right foot) is out for the year.
LIVE ON THE RADIO AND THE WEB: Coastal Carolina men's basketball will be broadcast live on "The Team", 93.9 FM, 93.7 FM and 1050 AM in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area, as well as on the Internet at www.GoCCUSports.com. Matt Hogue returns for his eighth year as "Voice of the Chanticleers". In addition, a returning feature this year will be Live Game Stats of all CCU home basketball games on the Internet.